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Buhari misses Midrand business forum, Ramaphosa assures over visa issues

Nigeria’s Trade Minister Aisha Abubaker had to step in at the last minute to deliver Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's address, saying only that he apologised.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) and Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari at the Union Buildings on Thursday, 3 October 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - It's still not clear why Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari failed to attend the business forum with South Africa in Midrand on Thursday.

Nigeria’s Trade Minister Maryam Katagum had to step in at the last minute to deliver Buhari's address, saying only that he apologised.

The members of the private sector most affected by the recent violence and those who attended the forum said the voice of government in mending relations and boosting confidence was very important.

Buhari has been criticised for staying in power while spending months undergoing medical treatment overseas.

Today business, which had felt the wrath of deteriorating relations between South Africa and Nigeria, was hoping to be assured by both leaders but only President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the event.

Abubaker would not respond to questions about Buhari’s no show.

Buhari is expected to attend a state banquet in his honour on Thursday evening.

In the meantime, Ramaphosa has assured businesses that the concerns around visas would be addressed.

“The concerned area was about visas, we will be addressing the issue of visas.”

The Nigerian president is expected to return home on Friday.